Hi friends. I feel there is a new sense of optimism and community about my blog of late. We are having some good discussions and everyone seems to be interacting well. It’s nice to see after all this time that my blog is going stronger than ever. I feel the same about Roger and his tennis. The last couple of posts have focused on the Djokovic and Nadal rivalry because Roger lost early in Rome. So I’d like to get back to Roger for a change. After my last post Joe commented about the things that has improved in Roger’s game in 2014. And there has been a lot of improvements. Of course Roger decided to make changes to his equipment and coaching staff, which almost immediately started paying off. You gotta give him credit for making changes when it was called for. The new racquet was very much needed I thought.
I actually suggested it before Roger made the actual change. I think the new racquet has improved Roger’s serve and ground strokes, and possibly his volleys too. It is difficult to say exactly how the new racquet has improved these things, but I’m sure it has. I think on the serve and ground strokes it has given Roger more power and consistency. But even more importantly was the hiring of his own idol and legend of the game Edberg as his new coach. It just seemed meant to be when it happened. The mutual respect between the two are just huge, but aside from that they are a great personality match and get along very well. And ever since Edberg showed up alongside the court in Melbourne I could sense an immediate change in Roger. A certain mental tranquility which was not there before, or mental equilibrium like Joe put it so well.
What Roger will be wearing
And it immediately made a difference to his results as he defeated Tsonga and Murray to make the semis in Melbourne. It kept paying off as Roger won Dubai and made the final in Indian Wells. Then Roger lost in Miami, which has never been very kind to him, to a very dangerous young player in Nishikori. But Roger was right back in the hunt at Monte Carlo where he defeated Djokovic in the semis and lost to Stan after winning the first set and losing the second set breaker. And then of course there was the unfortunate loss to Chardy in Rome after Chardy came up with that passing shot on match point down. It happens and it’s nothing to worry about. So since Fedberg became a team things have changed drastically since 2013. Roger has just not quite been able to break through to win a big title.
A slam semi, two Masters finals, and an ATP 500 title is nothing to scoff at however. You can add the ATP 250 final in Brisbane there as well. It would have been ideal if Roger picked up one of those Masters titles of which he was a finalist, but it was both very close losses to two very good players. Knowing how positive Roger is he won’t let those two losses affect him too much. He will keep knocking at the door until it opens. Whether it will open at the French Open is another story, but I think Roger can have a good run anyway. The important thing is that he just hung on to the #4 spot in the rankings after Djokovic defeated Ferrer in Rome. Now he has to capitalize and try and improve on last year’s quarter final result. Roger has already been in Paris since the beginning of the week training so he looks ready and raring to go.
If it ain’t fun, it ain’t worth doing
The loss to Chardy in Rome certainly won’t affect him, and I think he is motivated to do well on clay again. Last year’s loss to Tsonga was of course a disappointment and he would definitely want to improve on that. I think semi-finals is a realistic goal for Roger this year. A lot will depend on the draw and how things play out as the tournament progress. Players like Nishikori, Raonic, Murray, and Berdych will all be dangerous to face at the quarter final stage. Even Ferrer, despite Roger’s 14-0 head-to-head record over him. Then if Roger is in Nadal’s half it is a problem, unless Nadal gets upset earlier. If Roger is in Djokovic’s half and they happen to meet in the semis with Nadal waiting in the final, I wouldn’t want Roger to save Nadal again like he did in 2011. I think this year Djokovic has a good chance of doing what I’m sure he would have done in 2011 had Goderer not showed up.
I don’t know if Roger could repeat that feat again anyway at this stage. Djokovic looked awfully good in the Rome final, while Roger lost his first match. I just feel like this may well be Djokovic’s year. I want Roger to have a solid French Open which would mean making semis at least, and then he can really give it another big shot during the grass court season. He will certainly have his chances again at Wimbledon. I’m not sure if Murray will be back to his best again at Wimbledon, while if Nadal does not win the French he will not be a threat at Wimbledon either. As far as Djokovic goes he is not the greatest grass court player out there and Roger will always have his chances against him on grass. Fedberg is too impressive a team not to win at least one slam between them.
Don’t you think?
Update: Just saw this tweet on twitter –
Edberg:”I told Roger that he can win a GS again.French Open isn’t our priority but W/A bit of luck he has a chance” @Ignacio_DeLoma
Fedberg up to something a little ‘different’: